With the start of the fall season, it is also the time for focusing on a different type of fall. September 22nd marks the nationwide Falls Prevention Awareness Day. Many agencies and community groups will participate in this day of raising awareness and putting on events aimed at sharing tips, resources and help so that seniors can reduce their likelihood of falling. This is an issue we are passionate about at EasyLiving, as we make it our goal to help elders maintain a healthy, happy life. We know falls can really derail the best plans and that prevention can have a big impact. Here we will share some facts about falling, fall precautions you can take and our fall prevention checklist. We invite you to share this information and help raise awareness.
- 1 in 3 people 65 and older (12 million people) fall each year in the U.S.
- Falls often result in decreased mobility and independence. They are often serious enough to result in hospitalization and even premature death.
- In Pinellas County, falls are the #1 cause of 911 calls.
- Review your medications and health history with your medical providers. Discuss any feelings of dizziness or imbalance and how your conditions or medications may put you at risk. Consider getting a pharmacist review of medications to see if you can reduce or eliminate any medications and understand how they might interact or potential risks. Get a regular checkup with your primary care physician.
- Secure the home environment. Do a home safety review (grab our Fall Prevention Checklist to help) or have a professional home safety assessment completed. Remove obstacles and clutter as well as throw rugs. Increase lighting. Look carefully at areas like the bathroom and consider installing grab bars and making other minor modifications. A professional geriatric care manager can offer targeted recommendations for changes that will help you the most.
- Exercise for strength and balance improvements. This is one of the biggest steps you can take at any age to reduce the likelihood of falls, and the chances of resulting injury. There is some exercise program to fit almost anyone. Check with your local senior center or consider hiring a personal trainer with expertise in this area. Talk to your doctor about what exercise program is safe for you.
- Get your vision checked. Make sure to have an annual vision check and keep your glasses updated. Make environmental changes if you have poor vision to increase safety.
- Consider bringing some health support in to the home. A home caregiver can help with everything from boosting your nutrition by preparing healthy meals to assisting you in maintaining an exercise routine. Having help for certain times of day, such as getting up and ready in the morning or preparing for bed/taking a bath in the evening, can keep you safe during activities which might cause you trouble.